So, your trash didn’t get picked up this week – even though you followed the city’s newest rule and put out a recycling cart next to your trash cart.
Don’t feel like you’re being discriminated against. Hundreds across the city went outside to find their trash cart hadn’t been touched and that they would get to keep it for another week.
Now, here’s the hard part; the trash was purposely left there. That’s because a recycling cart wasn’t out there, too.
But, you say, as many called the mayor’s office to report, that you put both carts out there.
The issue is, says David Picozzi, acting director of public works, that recycling trucks often precede sanitation trucks and many people wheel the recycling carts from the curb when they are emptied. Sanitation crews, therefore, have no way of knowing who abided by the new directive that a recycling cart must accompany a trash cart for the trash to be picked up.
Mayor Scott Avedisian sees no solution to the issue other than urging people to wait until all the carts are emptied before moving the carts away from the curb.
“I think, until we’ve gotten the format down and people get used to it, there are going to be some problems,” he said.
On Monday, the sanitation department received about 400 calls from angry residents saying they met requirements but still had their trash. They wanted a truck to swing back and make the pickup or come the following day.
“I’m sorry, we can’t come back. And we can’t come tomorrow; we’ve got tomorrow’s route to do,” Picozzi said.
He reported that the number of complaints dropped on Tuesday and seemed to be on the decline.
“I’m hoping by next week people get used to the new system,” he said.
Picozzi doesn’t believe those who say they don’t have anything to recycle.
“Well, you know that roll from the toilet paper. There’s something … there’s plastic and bottles,” he said.
And, what if people only put out a recycling cart; will the city pick that up?
Picozzi was delighted with that prospect.
“That’s OK, we don’t have to pay for [dumping] recycling as long as people don’t put trash in it,” he said.
On the chance that people are using both recycling carts, Picozzi urged people to completely fill one cart and then use the other for any leftover for the following week. An aim of the new system is to get an even flow of recyclables to avoid having trucks make two runs daily to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery facility in Johnston.
The new system of mixed recyclables went into effect about two weeks ago, when Resource Recovery went on line with a new system that automatically screens and sorts recyclables. This brought an end to the green and blue bin sorting required of residents.
It also means many people have two carts when they only need one. The city has been getting calls from those who want to turn in one of their carts.
Avedisian said the administration is looking into selling the excess carts to communities that might use them. For the time being, however, people are asked to keep both carts because the city has no place to store them.
And since the heat – temperatures in the 90s – is the news of today, Picozzi assured that both sanitation and recycling trucks would be making the rounds no matter how hot it gets.
“They have air conditioning,” he said of the drivers, who don’t have to leave the cab to make collections.
Just make sure to leave the recycling cart out there until your trash is collected.